‘Asterix and Obelix’ illustrator passes away

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The family of French comic-book artist Albert Uderzo has announced his death at home, aged 92, ‘from a heart attack unrelated to the coronavirus’. The illustrator had created the beloved Asterix comics in 1959 with the writer René Goscinny. Uderzo “died in his sleep at his home in Neuilly from a heart attack unrelated to the coronavirus. He had been very tired for several weeks,” his son-in-law Bernard de Choisy told AFP.

Asterix is one of the best-loved characters in French popular culture. The series depicts the adventures of Asterix together with his best friend Obelix and dog Dogmatix – Idéfix in the French – outwit the Roman legionnaires who were posted in ancient Gaul. The character is famous worldwide, with more than 370m albums sold, numerous films and even an Asterix theme park.

Various famous people spoke of their love for the comic, and how this has affected their own childhood as well as its impact on their works. Cressida Cowell, author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, said: “I loved Asterix as a child, and his style was absolutely iconic. Creating a huge cast of individually recognisable characters, and the minute detail of all those group battles and the action scenes is an achievement in itself, but his real skill was combining fast-paced adventure with such humour and warmth.” She goes on to say that children learn in different ways, and graphic novels such as Asterix surely have a great positive impact on their lives.

Others also joined in their tributes to the illustrator. Comedian Chris Addison took to Twitter to talk about his joy while reading the comics, ending his post with “Chapeau Monsieur!”.  Mark Millar, creator of comics including Kingsman and Kick-Ass, called Uderzo “the Master, while Rafael Albuquerque, illustrator and co-creator of American Vampire, said Uderzo was “one of my biggest influences in comics”.

Uderzo and Goscinny met in 1951, when they started working on comics together. In 1959 they were commissioned to create a typical French hero and so Asterix was born. After Goscinny’s death in 1977, Uderzo continued the adventures of Asterix alone. He retired in 2009, after retired, selling the rights to the character to Hachette.

Agencies / DW / AFP / Guardian

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